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Police reassure domestic abuse victims #YouAreNotAlone this Christmas

Staffordshire Police is relaunching a domestic abuse awareness campaign ahead of the festive season.

This year has been a challenging year for many, with job losses and the added stress of working from home and lockdowns affecting people’s wellbeing and mental health. With the financial strain of Christmas it’s anticipated that there will be an increase in domestic abuse, in its many forms.

The #YouAreNotAlone campaign, which begins on Monday 7 December and runs until early New Year, will carry the straplines ‘Happy Christmas… But not for all’ and ‘Not everyone has gifts on their Christmas wish list’ as it’s recognised just how hard this time of year can be for victims. While it will have a festive feel this will be contrasted with images and text illustrating the reality faced by many.

The eight different forms of abuse will be highlighted, as domestic abuse isn’t just violence – it can be a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour, which can also be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. It can be committed anywhere, including online, and can sadly involve and seriously affect children.

Throughout the campaign the confidential advice and support offered by independent agencies such as Staffordshire Women’s Aid, Glow, New Era and the Pathway Project, will be shared to reassure victims that there is help on hand, even if they’re not ready to report abuse to police. There is also support available for perpetrators from Glow and New Era.

Chief Inspector Paul Cooke, force lead for domestic abuse, said: “Our message to victims of domestic abuse is to continue reporting to us. You are not alone. We will assist when you ask for help, and can take steps to ensure you’re safe. 

“Our officers will investigate your crime and have powers to protect you if required, such as arresting the person who has caused you harm and we can use bail conditions to stop them from contacting or approaching you or your loved ones. We also have the ability to use Domestic Violence Protection Orders and stalking protection orders which can prevent them from causing you further harm. This is all done with support from our domestic abuse partners New Era and the Victim’s Gateway who will be able to provide support and advice.

“We’re reiterating that even with the Covid restrictions domestic abuse services are open and the police response is we are here for you. For some victims home will not be a safe place – but you do not need to worry about breaking restrictions to get away from abusers, you will be supported and protected.

“We know there will be victims out there who don’t realise they’re being abused so this campaign is also about highlighting the different forms abuse can take. We ask everyone to look out for their friends, neighbours and family members, reaching out to them if it is safe to do so, or by seeking advice from us or domestic support agencies and charities.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis said: “Christmas is a special time of year for many, but financial, emotional and other pressures can make it a stressful time for some, especially where relationships are already under strain.

“This year has brought many challenges, but support is still available to anyone affected by domestic abuse across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Victims do not have to suffer in silence – they can come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to the police.” 

Anyone with concerns can report them through private message on Staffordshire Police’s Facebook and Twitter, online or by calling 101. For details of the support on hand visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/domesticabuse

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